The Sermon on the Mount is one of the most popular portions of scripture and for good reason. In this sermon, Jesus presents the Kingdom to His disciples, He presents the expectations, changes, and blessings that will be experienced. The beatitudes make up the first portion of the sermon, where Jesus lays out the types of attitudes, he expects His disciples to have. Next, Jesus explains the purpose and identity of His people. Jesus makes two identification statements, in Matthew 5:13-16. Jesus makes our purpose and identity clear; we are to live salty and bright!
Read Matthew 5:13-16
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.Matthew 5:13-16 (ESV)
Live Salty: Understanding Salt
Jesus’ first statement concerning our identity is vital in understanding our purpose in life. Jesus says, “you are the salt of the earth.” The question then is how are we to live salty? In today’s culture, if someone is described as being, “salty” it means they are either mad, frustrated, or annoyed by someone or something. This is clearly not what Jesus is encouraging. Rather, Jesus is pointing to the effectiveness of salt. Salt was and is used in a variety of ways. Most commonly salt is used to add flavor to food, but historically salt was also used as a fertilizer. In the old testament salt is described as a purifier, and still today salt is used as a preservative. Salt is so important to the world because of all the helpful and effective ways it can be used.
Live Salty: Understanding our Purpose
This is how Jesus expects His people to be in His kingdom, the church. We are to recognize that we have a purpose to pursue and live out. We aren’t to be simply floating through life seeking our own pleasures and joys. Rather, we are to live for Christ, as the salt of the earth. We are to live salty and bright.
This means we are to live as effective and productive people in the world. When you look at all the purposes of salt one overarching theme is that it makes everything it touches better. It improves it in one way or another. When salt is added to food, it improves the taste, when it is added to meat, it helps preserve it. Likewise, when it is added to soil it becomes more fertile, and when used for purification purposes, it makes what it touches pure. As Christians, the salt of the earth, we need to touch the world in a way that makes it better. This is our purpose.
Conclusion: Live Salty – Creating a Better World
If we are going to make the world a better place, than we must focus on our effectiveness or our ability to do good for Christ. Jesus makes it clear in Matthew 5:13 salt that loses its flavor is useless and needs to be thrown out or disposed. Likewise, when we stop being effective or stop making the world a better place, we began to act useless and deserve to be thrown out. This is the opposite of who we are to be as Christians. Christians are the salt of the world. This means we are to be effective in making the world a better place. We can do this in many ways, through setting a good example, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, serving others, and helping influence others to do good. This is what it means to live salty.
When we do these things, we touch the earth in a way that makes it better and truly fulfill our identity and purpose as the salt of the earth.